2015 MLB Draft Profile: C Chris Betts, Wilson HS (Calif.)

This is the second part of my 2015 MLB Draft profiles. This time I look at prep catcher and local fella Chris Betts, who has a big bat but some questions about sticking behind the plate.

Previous entires
Dakota Chalmers

Vitals
6’2, 220 pounds
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
DOB: March 10, 1997
Days younger than Julio Urias: -210

Location
Long Beach, Calif.
Wilson High School
Commitment: University of Tennessee

Rankings
Baseball America: 26
ESPN: 21
FanGraphs: 25
MLB.com: 21
Perfect Game: ?
Scouting Baseball: 41

Slot recommended bonus (No. 24): $2,094,400
Slot recommended bonus (No. 35): $1,756,100

Editor’s note: All information of draft prospects compiled from internet sources, scouting reports and video.

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Offense is at a premium in today’s game, and while the Dodgers (or any team) aren’t drafting for 2015, they’re drafting for the future. Offense from a potential catcher carries an even higher premium. That’s what Wilson High School catcher Chris Betts bring to the table.

The left-handed swinger has a quick bat despite being a bigger guy. He starts with a wide base that he has since narrowed a bit. His hands are quiet from start to finish, as he holds them just above shoulder level. When he goes into his load, he also crouches a little bit. I’m not sure exactly why he does it, but it could be to generate more bat speed and, therefore, more power potential. He also has a toe-tap for timing, and it all seems to work for him. He has a longer stride than a lot of hitters these days (not Corey Seager long, though) and his front foot rolls over (ala Seager). His bat stays in the hitting zone a long time and it’s a short, quick, level stroke that is conducive to power and line drives.

On the basepaths, well, let’s just say he runs like a catcher. He has been timed in the 7.1-7.5 range in the 60-yard dash, which equates to 45-grade speed on the fast end and 30-grade speed on the slow end. In one of the videos I saw, he checked in at 13.01 seconds on a triple. For context, Dee Gordon got around the bases on a triple (scored on an error) in 13.89 seconds. He definitely won’t be known as a threat on the bases.

Behind the plate, he has plus-arm strength. The scouting reports say he has a long release when he throws, but the videos I saw didn’t show that. Granted, most of them weren’t in game action, but he showed the ability to have a short, quick release and consistent 1.9-second pop times. We’ll see if it translates to game action. He’s a big-bodied catcher who moves surprisingly well behind the plate and has dropped weight this year. Keith Law wrote some teams think he could be a Brian McCann-type catcher, which, yes.

Video

With the dearth of quality catching prospects in this draft, Betts figures to be a lock for the first round. If the Dodgers popped him at No. 24, I wouldn’t be upset. I’m not sure he makes it there, let alone wondering if he makes it to No. 35. His offensive potential and upside would come at a premium if he can stick behind the plate. If not, a move to first base could be in order. He probably couldn’t handle a corner outfield spot with his lack of foot speed. If he moves off catcher, he should be able to hit enough to justify a spot at first, even if his plus-arm would be somewhat wasted there.

He was No. 2 on my first Big Board, and I’m really high on the kid. With offense becoming much more scarce, getting a catcher who can hit would be nice value at No. 24.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.